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Kuwait Official Says Oil May Hit $160 Amid Tension

Oil prices could soar to as high as $160 a barrel if tension over an Iranian oil embargo persists or in the event of conflict, a top Kuwaiti oil executive said in remarks published on Monday.

"If the embargo on Iranian oil persists, or in case of a military move over the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, oil prices are expected to soar to around $150 to $160," Kuwait Petroleum Corporation board member Ali al-Hajeri told Al-Seyassah daily.

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World Stocks Mixed Amid Greek Debt Fears

World stock markets were mixed Monday as fears of a Greek debt default dampened the euphoria from a stronger-than-expected increase in U.S. jobs.

Benchmark oil fell to near $97 per barrel while the dollar rose against the euro and the yen.

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Egypt's EFG Says Chairman Banned from Travel

Egypt-based investment bank EFG Hermes says that the prosecutor general has banned its chairman from travel.

EFG, the Arab world's largest publicly traded investment bank, said Monday in a statement on the Egyptian Exchange's website that it learned of the decision affecting Yasser el-Mallawany on Sunday evening. The step often accompanies a possible criminal investigation.

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EU Debt Crisis at Center of Saudi-IMF Talks

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde met Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf on Saturday to discuss efforts to resolve Europe's debt crisis, the state news agency SPA reported.

The talks in Riyadh also covered regional and global economic conditions, it said on its website.

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Report: Monti Says Italy a "Safe Place"

Italy is now a "safe place" amid market turbulence; Premier Mario Monti said in an interview published Saturday, pressing for Europe to turn its political energy to generating growth rather than further plans to strengthen budget discipline.

Monti's comments in an interview with the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung came ahead of a planned appearance at the Munich Security Conference.

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Russia Admits Brief Cut of Gas Supplies to Europe

Russia's state-controlled Gazprom natural gas giant acknowledged for the first time Saturday that it had briefly reduced gas supplies to Europe amid a spell of extreme cold.

Gazprom deputy chief Andrey Kruglov reported to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that the cuts lasted for several days and reached up to 10 percent, but supplies are currently back to normal. Officials in Austria and France, however, have reported cuts of as much as 30 percent, and Italy said supplies were down by 24 percent Thursday.

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Oil Minister: Iran Asked OPEC States not to Raise Output

Iran has asked OPEC members not to raise oil production to compensate for a European Union embargo against the Islamic republic, Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said on Saturday.

Qasemi said the request was forwarded in a letter to Iraq, the current head of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

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Exxon, Petrom Find Gas in Black Sea Shelf

Energy giants ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom said Saturday they have found gas deposits in the Romanian part of the Black Sea continental shelf, a month after they began explorations in the area.

"The first deepwater well drilled by ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom indicates the presence of natural gas," the two companies said in a press release.

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Crisis-Hit Greeks Moved 16 Billion Euros Abroad

Greeks have moved at least 16 billion euros ($21 billion) in funds to foreign banks in the last two years, about a third of which went to Britain, the finance minister said on Friday.

Evangelos Venizelos said that overall, depositors had withdrawn 65 billion euros from Greek banks since 2009 when the country began a tailspin into its worst economic crisis in decades.

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Oil Hovers above $96 Ahead of Key U.S. Jobs Report

Oil prices hovered above $96 a barrel Friday in Asia as traders awaited a key jobs report for evidence about the strength of the U.S. economy.

Benchmark crude for March delivery was up 13 cents at $96.49 a barrel at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract fell $1.25 to settle at $96.36 on Thursday.

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